Students in the US who are in same-sex marriages will soon be treated equally to straight married couples in applying for federal college loans.

The announcement was made on Friday by Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and reflects the US Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this year to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

“We must continue to ensure that every single American is treated equally in the eyes of the law, and this important guidance for students is another step forward in that effort,” Duncan said in a statement.

The application process which has been revised is called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), in order to include more inclusive language about students and their parents. The forms do not distinguish between gay and straight couples.

The Education Department will recognise a student – or parents- as legally married, if they married in a state which permits same-sex marriage, reports the AP. The eligibility of all students in all 50 states, regardless of where they attend school.

“As students fill out their FAFSA this coming year, I’m thrilled they’ll be able to do so in a way that is more fair and just,” Duncan continued.